The basic information needed to get the rates you deserve for paid jobs when you decide to make hair, makeup or wardrobe styling your business (and a primary source of income).

Negotiation 101

Determining realistic, competitive base rates for negotiation is your first step.
Research the rates of artists who are:

  1. At your skill level, with similar work experience or credentials.
  2. Working consistently in your market (geographically).

Getting this research data will not be easy, but it’s essential. Once you have a good cross-section of rates (highs and lows), add them up and average them out. Take that averaged number and raise it slightly. This will give you a good starting rate and prevent you from accidentally undercutting anyone at your level.

Don’t waste your time or energy stressing about the Craigslist and Model Mayhem “discount” artists – they are NOT your competition and are NOT booking the jobs you want.
I REPEAT: They are not competing for the legitimate paying jobs that will move your career forward. These “discount’” artists will never develop the foundation of a sustainable business by low-balling or undercutting.

The MOST Important Rule:
Never quote a rate until you know what the budget is. The client or photographer knows how much money they have allotted for the vanity departments (hair, makeup, wardrobe). If they refuse to tell you what they have budgeted, they’re not being honest and you should be concerned. Don’t confront them about it; simply ask them to get back to you with a first offer once they have the budget worked out.

NOTE: You are not being difficult or a “diva” by holding out for a budget or first offer. It’s called being a smart businessperson and if the client doesn’t understand that, maybe you shouldn’t work with them.

REMEMBER: Don’t be rigid about rates when you’re negotiating. Adjusting your rate for a project that offers advantages to move your career forward in a tangible way is totally acceptable. Tangible = it will get you more paid jobs.

Industry Standards for Booking (in the Real World)

Half or Full Day Rate:

  • Photo – Editorial/Commercial/Advertising
  • Film & Video – Music/Theatrical/Reality
  • Live Media Events – Stage Performances/Press Junket/Satellite Tour/Runway/Fashion Show

Flat Rate or Per Client Rate:

  • Salon/Spa
  • Headshots or Glamour Shots
  • Special Event; Bridal/Prom

SPECIAL NOTE: Runway/Fashion Shows may be booked at a Flat Rate. NEVER Per Model or Per Look.

A “Per Model” rate is ONLY used for agency-sponsored tests. The photographer charges the agency a flat fee for each model tested and the fee is split between the photographer and the creatives. You will often do multiple models at an agency sponsored test shoot and be paid per model.


  • Kit Fees are charged ONLY for Film & Video bookings.
  • “Per Look” is NOT a legitimate industry term. Please do not offer it to a client – it will show your inexperience and possibly damage your credibility.

I think that just about covers all the basics.

©2014 Makeup Art + Design Enterprises – all rights reserved.

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